Rostan Tavasiev was born in 1976 in Moscow where the artist is based until today. His work is characterized by the use of soft toys, mainly toy rabbits and elephants that are the main protagonists in his installations and paintings.
For the section of the Sergei Kirov Museum that is devoted to childhood in the pre-war years of the Soviet Union, he developed a new installation, entitled Tunnel. The work consists of a toy train track installed in the shape of a circle that includes an invisible tunnel with two open books marking the entrance into / exit out of the tunnel on each side. On the one edge of the tunnel three toy carriages with blue bears as passengers are about to enter the tunnel.
The use of toys in international contemporary art is relatively widespread. Artists such as Mike Kelley, Jeff Koons, Annette Messager or Takashi Murakami use toys in order to blur the line between high and low, between elitist and mass culture, sometimes criticizing the omnipotent commercialization in our global world, sometimes referring to childhood traumas or the uncanny.
In his paintings, Tavasiev replaced the paintbrush by a soft toy and created his own movement in painting: postmoosernism of hippopoart. He brings back a certain sentiment that the toys’ childlike characteristics give rise to: compassion, emotion, and empathy – in order to raise existential questions that he describes for his work Tunnel: “From book to book there is an invisible tunnel. But how to understand, how long it is? How much time we need to understand? How can a book influence space and time? How ideas in books can influence a generation?”
Tavasiev is a 2014 Innovation Prize nominee and exhibited in Russia and internationally in the following institutions (selection): State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow; Moscow Museum of Modern Art; Zverev Art Center, Moscow; Sakharov Museum, Moscow; ICA Moscow; CCA, Grozny; Museum Center, Krasnoyarsk; Russian Academy of Arts Museum, St. Petersburg; Bass Museum of Art, Miami; National Academy of Art, Sofia; Maison Rouge, Paris, and participated in the IX International Krasnoyarsk Biennale, the I Moscow International Biennale for Young Art and the I Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art.
The Sergei Kirov Museum is located in the historic center of St. Petersburg, in 26-28 Kamennoostroovsky зrospect. This tenement house, one of the biggest in pre- Revolutionary St. Petersburg, was commissioned for “The First Russian Insurance Society”. It was built in 1911 -1914 by Leontiy, Alexander, Yuliy Benois, and Alexander Gunst. After the 1917 Revolution, the best apartments were given to the local Party leaders, and Sergei Kirov, who headed the Leningrad Communist Party organization from 1926 to 1934 was one of them. In 1955 the #20 apartment he had shared with his wife, Maria Markus, was turned into a museum.
The Sergei Kirov Museum is one of the most unique monuments of the Stalin epoch. Apart from five living rooms with authentic interiors visitors get a chance to view two halls, a bathroom and a kitchen; the homemaker’s room features an interactive game “Beri Chto Dayut” (Beggars Can’t Be Choosers), which gives an idea of the Soviet coupon system of the 1920-30s. In the Museum cinema-hall visitors can also watch archive newsreels of the first five-year-plans, early Soviet cartoons and films that give a better idea about social, economic, political, and cultural aspects of Leningrad and daily life of a Party leader in the 1920-1930s.
Address: 26-28, Kamennoostroovsky prospect
Closest metro stations: Petrogradskaya, Gorkovskaya
Tel.: +7 (812) 346 – 0289
Museum hours: Thursday –Tuesday 11:00-18:00